May 7, 2015

JAMESTOWN, N.C. — Guilford Technical Community College’s Class of 2015 will make history tonight as the largest graduating class in the history of the college.

Currently, 1,412 students will graduate this academic term (2014-2015) compared to 1,223 graduates five years ago. That number will increase slightly as those who are on target to graduate in the summer complete and pass their remaining classes.

GTCC President Dr. Randy Parker attributes the increase in class size to the spike in enrollment during the recession, beginning with the 2009-2010 academic term. The college’s total enrollment peaked at 45,352 in 2012-2013.

“The majority of our students are older adults who have an assortment of responsibilities outside of the classroom, so typically it takes our students four to five years to complete,” Parker said. “The influx of students who enrolled during the economic decline is now graduating. So what we’re currently experiencing is the result of that enrollment swell.”

Parker also attributes this year’s class size to the college’s efforts behind Completion by Design, a national five-year initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase student completion. GTCC is the lead school among five North Carolina community colleges selected for the initiative in 2011.

As part of Completion by Design (CbD), GTCC has been developing and implementing innovative pathways and reforms to increase student completion. Some of those methods include:

–    Restructuring programs of study to better align with university and employer expectations
–    Implementing reforms designed to help students accelerate into programs of study
–    Improving students’ front door-experience including redesigning orientation and implementing program to help GED and Adult High School graduates transition to college
–    Reshaping advising to become a more proactive, faculty-centered model.
“As a result of implementing these measures, we’re starting to see the needle move on student completion,” Parker said.

GTCC’s 49th Commencement will be held at 7 p.m. tonight (May 7) at the Greensboro Coliseum. The institution was founded in 1958.


*Academic Term    Graduates
2010-2011    1,223
2011-2012    1,381
2012-2013    1,383
2013-2014    1,356
2014-2015    1,412
*Academic term spans fall to summer i.e. fall 2014 to summer 2015.

Guilford Technical Community College is the third largest of 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. GTCC serves more than 40,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. Learn more at